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Unlocking Feeding Success: The Science Behind 90-90-90!

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Feeding therapy plays a crucial role in promoting healthy eating habits and ensuring proper nutrition for infants and toddlers. One key aspect that often goes overlooked is the positioning of the child during feeding. I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the feeding therapy magic that is the 90-90-90 position – and share some evidence-backed reasons why it's a game-changer.

1. Core Stability for the Win:

The 90-90-90 position isn't just about comfort; it's a core workout! By aligning hips, knees, and ankles at 90-degree angles, it engages core muscles, providing a stable foundation. This stability is vital for maintaining an upright posture during meals without fatigue, as supported by studies in pediatric physical therapy. I love the two chairs above because of the adjustable foot plate for any age!

2. Oral-Motor Coordination Boost:

Ever notice your kiddo struggling with utensils or making a mess? The 90-90-90 magic? It encourages better use of their hands, making self-feeding a breeze. Your child can focus on eating when their core is supported, like in the chairs above. Plus, it boosts hand-eye coordination – a point emphasized in research on pediatric occupational therapy.

3. Independence and Fine Motor Skills:

The 90-90-90 position empowers children to feed themselves more independently. A secure and supported sitting position allows them to use both hands effectively, promoting the development of fine motor skills. Studies in early childhood development underline the importance of such independence in fostering positive eating habits.

4. Aspiration Prevention:

Correct positioning reduces the risk of aspiration, a condition where food or liquid enters the airway instead of the stomach. By maintaining an upright posture, the child is better able to manage the flow of food and liquids, reducing the likelihood of choking or respiratory issues during feeding. When a child is leaning over, scooting their hips forward, slouching, or flailing limbs, they are more focused on creating stability in the body, and less able to safely swallow. This is why postural stability is the first step to overcoming mealtime struggles. This insight is supported by research in pediatric medicine.

5. Sensory Integration:

The 90-90-90 position contributes to effective sensory integration during mealtime. Children with sensory processing challenges often find comfort in routines and predictability. By consistently placing them in the 90-90-90 position, therapists and parents alike create a sensory-friendly environment that enhances the child's comfort and focus during meals. This approach aligns with findings in sensory integration therapy.

So, the next time you set up your little one for a meal, consider giving the 90-90-90 position a shot – not just a comfy chair, but a scientifically supported step towards happy and hiccup-free meals!

Some of my favorite chairs pictured above and linked below:

Cheers to mealtime success!


Jessica Hundley, M.S. CCC-SLP, CLC

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